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When compared to yesteryears English language has gained significance in every field and arena. Thereby we find the need to communicate effectively in English. Communication means to express one's own ideas and thoughts, but today there is a demand 'to persuade' the other while communicating; this is a significant trait of communication. In the words of Don Zatyko, Senior Program Manager - IT Asset Management, "communication is the most used skill in almost every job. How you communicate your accomplishments to others is a reflection of the quality of your workâ€¦ Good communication skills are required to report your results to others, persuade colleagues to take action, and sell your successes to your management". (â€¦)
In addition, The Wall Street Journal contributes its supportive views on the importance of communication: "To stand out from the competition, you must demonstrate the unwritten requirements that are now most in demand - leadership and communication skillsâ€¦"(Perry) Therefore communication skills are considered to be a prominent set of traits which an individual has to possess to face the challenge in today's competitive world.
In English Language Teaching, pedagogies are devised to cater to the needs of the learners and the job market for their future. Yet, there is one important feature/quality which has to be emphasized while developing one's communication skills. Communication becomes effective when the person at the other end receives the message exactly, not just verbatim, but semantically and persuasively to which non-verbal cues promote a meaningful execution of thoughts or ideas. Language teachers, thereby, provide the essential skills based on the target group. Considerably, tertiary level learners had to be fed with inputs focusing on the 'use' of English language which would lead them to perform well as they are to face the job market, immediately 'use pertains to the function a language performs or how the language is used in communication'. (Peter 51)
In globalized era, we find the heights of advancements in every man-made creations, with commercialization. We recognize the influential role of mass communication. The attitude of people towards things, events and ideas enforces the need to communicate with the individuals, groups and masses of people. Thereby, even an email received in an 'inbox' requires a 'label' to entice the person to read it, if necessary, also to reply. In other words, there is an active process involved, which can be termed 'persuasion'. Everything in life is a reminiscence of persuasion, whether it is an invention or destruction, from the beginning to the end. "Persuasion is a process, and change is an integral part of the process" (Young, 163) because "persuasion affects the way people think, act and feel" (157).
There is and immediacy to know the in-depth meaning of "persuasion" for a better understanding and clarity of thought to make it "outcome based" or productive. Persuasion is not just the result of susceptibility and convincibility but more of applicability. The negated use of 'convince' might sound ambiguous, but there is a thin line of difference between the words, 'persuade' and 'convince'. According to the Oxford Dictionary of current English, 'convince' means "to make a person feel certain that something is true", (92) whereas, 'persuade' implies "the use of reasoning or argument to make some believe or do something" (319). So, in terms of business communication, to convince a person or a group is to make them think the way you do in order to use the product. Thus, to 'persuade' an individual or a mass os to provide the consumer a clear picture of the product's credibility to make sure that the particular product is the best, which induces the buyers to sway the product. Therefore, "persuasion is the process of finding meaningful benefits and developing creative solutions" (Young, 158).
The present world of information and information interchange (communication) vouchsafe surplus job opportunities. But, whether it be globally or regionally, there is a dearth of skillful candidates amidst immense exposure to information across the globe, just by 'a click of the mouse' or by 'a touch'. On the contrary, these credulous ways of information impedes the youngsters from achieving good employability due to the persuasion of some distractions which deviates their futuristic goals and progresses. It is high time for the English language teachers to take a paradigm shift from 'practice' to 'performance' thereby, focusing their attention on their issue of 'outcome based learning' which accentuates the role of persuasion. In this context, persuasion relates to the different means of utilizing one's skills to achieve the purpose.
Therefore, the tertiary level learners are targeted, at present, in order to enhance them to make a best use of the persuasive tool (English language) at their disposal. In the long run, other persuasive techniques of English language can be induced to the learners based on their level. For the tertiary level; learners, emphasis can be made on the two important communicative skills that is, 'speaking and writing'. Peter Drucker, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a famous management consultant, and an effective communicator, states that "colleges teach the one thing that is perhaps most valuable for the future employee to know. But very few students bother to learn it. This one basic skill is the ability to organize and express ideas in writing and speaking." (Flatley etal, 6) Thus, the L2 learners can be taught to use these two important skills 'writing and speaking', persuasively.
At first, to heed the persuasive use of oral communication, the learners ought to know the essential traits of persuasion. This can be done through a 'deductive approach' of exposing the learners to legendary speakers of the orators, chronologically and then to authentic group discussions, meetings and interviews, therefore making the learners identify the key features of persuasion through oral communication. For instance, to begin with, screening the videos of persuasive speeches of Martin Luther king's 'I Have a Dream', Mark Antony's 'Funeral Speech' , Malcom X's 'The Ballot or the Bullet'. Churchill's "We Shall Fight them on the Beaches', Shiv Khera's 'yes We Can'. Thereupon, making the learners identify the use of persuasive devices such as tone, pace, audibility, variation, stress, pause, modulation, facial expressions and gestures. As a follow-up activity, the concluding or the introductory part of the speech can be omitted and the learners can be asked to present it in their own style. Learners should also be immersed in group discussions, peer analysis; simulations which leads them to the world of realia.